I have to share this with you. When I’m stressed, I make what the airforce terms as ‘errors of omission’. In other words, my brain turns to mush and I do silly, uncharacteristic (hopefully!) things… as when I checked in at Waipuna last Thursday for the RWNZ conference. I had a carload full of raffle prizes, goodie-bags to be stored, my (large) suitcase, my handbag and various cartons of gift baskets for our guest speakers. The reception staff probably should have run screaming the moment I walked in the door. Instead, realizing how frazzled I was, they helpfully unloaded my car then parked it for me while I registered, stored all the necessary stuff and got the porter to take everything else up to my room.
Of course the last thing I did at reception was write my car rego number on my hotel registration form. So when the porter asked me what room, I didn’t check my slip of paper, I just said: Room blah blah blah. My swipe card didn’t work so thinking it was faulty, the porter swiped me in with his master card. I didn’t think much about the coincidence that my room number was the same as the last 3 digits of my car rego… until I got into my room and found someone else’s suitcase there. And no, I wasn’t sharing a room. Weird! I wandered upstairs (neat, I’d been upgraded!) and saw the bed all made etc. Hmmmm. So I rang reception and just as I was connected, I glanced at my slip of paper. Oooops… wrong room! I was actually 6 rooms up the corridor! Beating a hasty retreat, we loaded everything back on the trolley, let ourselves out and trundled up to the correct room. Thank goodness there’d been no-one in the shower or sleeping when I wandered in. It might make a great start to a novel but is far too embarassing a situation in real life!
Anyway, I figured hopefully that’d be my big moment of idiocy for the entire weekend. But of course I was mistaken. My critique partner was helping me with my luggage on Sunday after the conference and we decided to take a shortcut to the carpark. Bad move. We went out the door, it slammed shut behind us and we were locked in the stairwell. The only outside door was to the fully-fenced pool complex, with no outside gate to be seen. Horrors! Up and down the stairs with the luggage a few times, but not a single door was unlocked. She’d forgotten to bring her swipe card and I’d given mine back. We were stuck with no immediate hope of rescue!
We pressed our noses up against the door’s window and burst out laughing. When we finally got ourselves together, I realized I had my mobile. Yay! But hang on, what was the hotel’s phone number? We were in a stairwell and there was no notice with an external phone number on it. Rats! What to do? Aha, my bill will have a phone number on it! I found the bill, rang reception and was giggling so much, the guy who answered must have thought I was hysterical. He came belting down the corridor at a run to save us and when we finally wiped our eyes and could get a coherent word out, we thanked him profusely.
Obviously eager to see the back of me by now in case I did something else too stupid for words, this kind young man grabbed my luggage and escorted us to the front door. I retrieved my car, loaded my luggage and said a fond farewell to my critique partner and Waipuna. And yes, I did manage to get home safely. I think next year I’ll ask for a minder all of my own… I obviously need one and it’d be safer than inflicting myself upon poor unsuspecting hotel guests and hotel staff members!